“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”: Inspired by the conniving walrus who tricks little oysters onto his dinner plate in Alice in Wonderland, the whimsically named restaurant is the second venture from the Chow sisters, who brought us the innovative cocktail bar The Woods. The new concept is a reinvention of the classic oyster bar, and is full of creative and quirky touches. All oysters are shucked to order, and served with six mouth-watering house accoutrements.
Shooters & bottles: We were greeted with a round of oyster shooters as we stepped into the cozy, nautical-inspired space. Three mixes were on offer, including a Bloody Mary ($48), a “Green” 5-a-day juice mix ($48) and a “Clear” sake combo with raw quail egg, shiso and caviar ($68). We washed all that briny goodness down with a bevy of bottled cocktails, ranging from a vinegary strawberries and rhubarb Rhubarbarella ($90), to a spicy Southeast Asia-inspired cocktail Tom Yum Me ($90), to a peanuty banana-infused bourbon cola mix termed the MLB ($110).
Shuck away: The variety of oysters at The Walrus are based on seasonality, and during our visit, the Baywater Sweet bivalves ($46 each) from the US were particularly plump. We slurped these babies down with an assortment of quirky accoutrements, including a rice vinegar, shallot and jalapeno-tinged “hogwash”, a Thai-inspired mignonette, and a refreshing mint and basil granita. We also sampled the “Oompa Loompa” raw signature shell ($48), which came topped with homemade blood orange sorbet, salmon and cucumber tartare. The cooked “Hail Caesar” shell ($48) was incredibly creamy, while the “Copy Cat” ($48) vegetarian oyster made with the curious oyster leaf gave us quite a surprise. Thanks to the unique flavours of the mertensia maritima plant, grown in crushed oyster shells, the leaf tastes exactly like an oyster!
With plenty of raw oysters sloshing happily in our bellies, we moved on to cooked dishes ranging from a crunchy mini fish and chips ($88) made with little white baits and Old Bay spice dusted fries, to a refreshing cuttlefish soba salad ($80).
The oyster and fish po’boy ($88), packed full of house-made pickles in a brioche sub, was a clear favourite, as was the incredibly creamy clam chowder ($68) brimming with umami flavours.
We capped off our meal with nori crisps and tiny deep-fried crabs ($130), before dipping our spoons into the salted caramel ice cream dessert ($58), presented in a molded chocolate oyster shell and topped with caviar. The delicious balance between sweet and savoury concluded our tasting on a very happy note.
Verdict: A high-energy oyster bar that is all about fun and unique flavour pairings. We also love how even non-oyster fanatics can have a good time here with the abundance of cooked seafood dishes. And you’ll be a superstar if you ring the bell, which orders shots for up to 25 lucky moochers to the tune of $999! Generous bell-ringers get to wear the captain’s hat for the night, and for those who chicken out, there’s the ice-water bucket challenge outside in the street!
The Walrus, 64 Staunton Street, Soho, Hong Kong, www.thewalrus.hk